Clinical issues research

Identify a research question and review the literature to see what evidence exists and how well your question is answered

The aim of Assessment Three is for you to identify a clinical issue and propose a research question about this clinical issue. You are to then to conduct your literature search and determine whether there is existing evidence to answer your clinical question.
Once you have identified a research question you will need to:

  1. Conduct a literature search using Medline/CINAHL databases (at a minimum) and identify literature relevant to the research question. Append the search history from your two database searches to the assignment.
  2. Write a Literature Review that describes what is already known about the research question. (NOTE: in addition to papers located from your database search, additional reports/ guidelines can also be accessed and included in your Literature Review).
  3. Consider how well the existing literature addresses your research question? (Consider if your research question has been fully answered, partially answered, or not answered at all)
  4.  (a) Identify what further research could be conducted (and its characteristics such as design, sample, outcome measures) that might provide important information to answer your research question AND (b) what are some ethical considerations that apply to these possible research studies.

The research question may be in response to a clinical issue you have observed or queried while on clinical placement from your other subjects. It might be from the content in your other subjects that left you wondering ‘why do we do it like this’? It might also be something you have observed through your own firsthand experiences with the healthcare system.

Your question might be a very specific example of one of these general types of enquiry

  • Why do we do it like that? (e.g., Does the routine removal of peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVC) 72 hours following insertion reduce infection rates?)
  • Why don’t we do it differently (e.g., Does patient education pre operatively impact on patient outcomes?)
  • What evidence supports providing care in a particular way (e.g., Does a 4 hourly repositioning regimen prevent patients developing pressure injuries?)
  • What evidence is there to support using certain assessment tools (e.g., Does the introduction of the national graphic observation chart increased nurse’s recognition and response to the deteriorating patient?)
  • Is there emerging evidence or a change to practice that could enhance outcomes? (e.g., Does “alarm fatigue” among nurses in critical care increase the risk of complications among patients?)
  • How effective is this approach to care? (e.g., Does wearing a face mask stop you from becoming infected with COVID-19?)

HINT: Whatever clinical issue you select, it will be important to keep the research question specific and it should be presented as a question (with question mark on the end)